The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein is a classic of science fiction and has been deeply influential for generations. Many of its ideas and concepts were revolutionary for its time, such as intelligent AI and it is one of the first space colonisation novels on the Moon. It was even cited to me as a plausible example of libertarian political ideas put into practice. It starts well, introducing many intriguing ideas such as alternative forms of marriage, a society without laws, how to run a revolution and life on the moon. Unfortunately, Heinlein ruins this potential by cheating to make everything as easy as possible for the heroes. Also with sexism. Continue reading “Heinlein Ruins ‘The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress’ By Cheating”
Terry Pratchett is one of the most famous British writers and his Discworld series has been read by millions. He has been praised by many as one of the funniest writers and master of the fantasy genre. His books have been hailed as literary classics and it has even been said that Terry Pratchett’s Discworld Might Be The Highest Form of Literature on the Planet.
So naturally hearing such praise (and being a fan of Douglas Adams and fantasy), I gave it a go. While I found them enjoyable, I wasn’t blown away. They were good but nothing great. So, I thought maybe I was missing something and wasn’t appreciating him fully (Pratchett hardly has critics so the problem must be with me). Or maybe I just haven’t got to the best book yet. So, I kept reading and in total, I’ve read 13 Discworld books, 7 in the City Watch series (up to Thud!), 3 in the Death series (up to Soul Music), the first 2 of the Moist von Lipwig books and Small Gods (also Good Omens which half counts).
Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely brilliant elements, clever ideas and hilarious moments. I have a taste for absurd humour and I love political commentary, so there’s a lot I did like about the books. Yet, I began to suspect that Discworld might be overrated. Such a thought is blasphemy, so I kept it to myself until I read enough books to see that while there are some very good books, there are also plenty of mediocre ones. Continue reading “Are The Discworld Books Overrated?”
Feminism doesn’t have the best of reputations, especially among men. Many think that it’s an issue that just doesn’t affect us, that it is a woman’s issue, something for them to worry about. Many are quite hostile to it, seeing it as an ideology that is fundamentally anti-men, that seeks to raise women by pulling men down. That some Feminists just hate men and see men as evil and the source all the problems in the world. Gender issues are often seen as a zero sum, that each side can only gain if the other side loses.
Yet Feminism can make society a much better place and improve the lives of all of us. Obviously, women stand to gain the most as they are worse off. It is good enough to improve society even if I don’t directly benefit and I could fill a blog post on how the many ways in which treating women as equals benefits us all (and I probably will in another post). However, I think it’s worth focusing on the ways in which Feminism can benefit men, especially because most men are completely unaware of them. Continue reading “How Feminism Can Help Men Too”
A lot of people these days don’t see the need for feminism. To many it’s just a lot of whinging and moaning about superficial things that don’t matter too much. Others see it as an issue that belongs in the history books, important in its time but not today. Don’t women have equal rights today? Hasn’t the movement run its course? A recent survey found that 85% of people support gender equality but only 18% consider themselves feminists. Basically, most people just don’t understand feminism (for a long time neither did I). However, I think there is another ideology that is more easily understood and can be used as a guide to explaining feminism, especially to people who wouldn’t otherwise see where Feminists are coming from. Continue reading “If You Can Understand Nationalism Then You Can Understand Feminism”
Hello and welcome to another instalment of An Atheist Reads The Bible. Chances are that by now you all know how this works and don’t need any introduction, so let’s jump right into the second half of Deuteronomy which is a particularly violent section, obsessed with purging the evil from society. Continue reading “An Atheist Reads The Bible: Purge The Evil”
The story takes an interlude away from Moses and instead details the laws that God wants us to follow. The main theme of the book is a dire fear of the unclean. Honestly, Leviticus must have been written by OCD germophobe as there is an obsession with avoiding anything unclean (which turns out to be most things). God gives these rules unconditionally and demands that they must be obeyed, which Christians have interpreted to mean they can pick and choose whichever they wish to follow. Continue reading “An Atheist Reads The Bible: Unclean, Everything Is Unclean!”
Feminists claim that one example of sexism in society is the fact that women get paid less than men. Conservatives counter by claiming that this difference is not due to sexism but to actual differences between men and women. They claim that men are better educated, have more experience and specialise in better paying (often more dangerous jobs). So which is it? Is the gender pay gap an example of sexism in society or is it just a myth that denies genuine differences in work done? Continue reading “The Gender Pay Gap Revisited”
It is said that when Ireland received its independence from Britain in 1921 it handed it over to the Catholic Church. For the next seven decades the Church dominated Irish life and shaped it to suit its teachings. While Ireland never became a theocracy, it came pretty close. Irish politicians of all parties declared their loyalty to the Church and gave the hierarchy unquestioned influence over policy. Politicians declared themselves Catholics first and Irishmen second. And what was the result of this influence? A stagnant society dominated by narrow mindedness sectarian pettiness. A socially suffocating society where all common sense and flexibility was abandoned in place of rigid dogma. An authoritarian atmosphere where all signs of modernity were repressed. Where brutality was condoned and ignored and unimaginable cruelty was shown to women and children, the extent of which is only coming to light now. This is the legacy of the church. Continue reading “Legacy Of The Catholic Church”
For a book that is supposed to be about love and tolerance, the Bible contains an incredible amount of sexism. It makes repeated reference to how women should be subjugated to men and Continue reading “Terrible Parts Of The Bible: Part 2 – Sexism”